BC United leader promises immediate aid for fire evacuees

Falcon promises fire aid

A BC United government would provide immediate help to forest fire victims, scrap drug decriminalization, put more police on the ground and make addiction treatment and recovery a priority, Leader Kevin Falcon said Sept. 21.

Speaking to delegates at the Vancouver conference of the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), Falcon said a government under him would not spend time studying wildfires for planning purposes.

“The land is littered with previous reports and task force studies,” he said.

Rather, he said, his government would work to have a full firefighting service utilizing local expertise for rapid response and fire suppression.

He said automatic financing for fire victims would ensure evacuees support within 72 hours.

On the drug issue, Falcon questioned why people can use illicit drugs in public but can't drink or smoke.

“It doesn’t make sense,” he said.

He was critical of the NDP’s Sept. 18 announcement that the province received approval from Ottawa to prohibit the possession of illegal drugs at playgrounds, spray pools, wading pools and skate parks.

“A BC United government is going to scrap this useless program,” he said.

He promised to make addiction treatment and recovery a priority and to take civil action against drug dealers whose substances lead to deaths.

On the public safety front, Falcon pledged to hire 500 new police officers for the province. He said provincial police training would be expanded and that he would work with the RCMP, which currently trains members in Regina, to have training facilities in B.C.

Falcon praised liquefied natural gas projects that have moved forward after being shepherded by former Liberal premier Christy Clark.

He spoke specifically of LNG Canada in partnership with various companies and northwestern B.C.’s Haisla First Nation.

“There are countries in Europe and Asia that are looking to British Columbia,” he said.

He noted the Liberals had worked to get independent power producers online to add electrical power to the province’s network. He said that was cancelled by the NDP, which is now looking again to that sector for power.

Falcon was critical of the delays the NDP started when coming to power on the Site C hydro-electric project in northeastern B.C. Those delays have cost the project billions, he said.

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